Luff throws a no-no, Hanewinckel walks off, and FMU sweeps UNCP

Luff throws a no-no, Hanewinckel walks off, and FMU sweeps UNCP

Florence, S.C. (April 2, 2014) – Senior righty Taylor Luff threw her fourth no-hitter of the season in a 2-0 game-one victory, and Francis Marion University swept a Peach Belt Conference softball doubleheader from UNC Pembroke, Tuesday night at the FMU Softball Stadium.

Senior shortstop Kristie Hanewinckel hit a walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the ninth inning to give FMU a 3-2 victory in the second contest.

The Patriots (20-20, 6-8 PBC) will be back in action this weekend when they travel to take on Lander University and USC Aiken on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.

Luff (11-11) threw 11 strikeouts and only gave up one walk in the first-game no-hitter. UNCP (17-19, 5-9) pitcher Natalie Klemann (10-7) took the loss despite not giving up an earned run as the Braves committed five miscues.

The Patriots benefited from two errors and a hit batter to load the bases with no outs in the bottom of the first inning. Junior first baseman Ashley Burney hit an RBI sacrifice fly to score the game's first run.

FMU added a second run in the bottom of the second inning. Junior third baseman Shelby Mathews opened the frame with a single, and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by sophomore outfielder Jessie Sims. Mathews advanced to third on a bunt single by Luff, and later scored on a wild pitch to put FMU up 2-0.

That would be all the runs that Luff would need as the only Braves' base runners that reached were Taylor Cloninger on a walk in the second and Caitlin Steel on an error in the seventh. Luff struck out Shelby Holland to complete the historic no-hitter.

Hanewinckel, Burney, and Luff all finished 2-for-3 at the plate. Mathews and freshman outfielder Briana Barzola also recorded base knocks.

In the second contest, Luff earned her second victory of the day in the circle after pitching five and two-thirds innings in relief and allowing just two hits with six strikeouts. The Braves' Selena Ashley (7-9) took the loss after throwing all nine innings and giving up three runs on nine hits.

After the Braves put up a run in each of the first two frames, the Patriots loaded the bases in the bottom of the third inning thanks to a walk drawn by senior outfielder Megan Smith, and single by Hanewinckel, and an error that put Burney on first. Mathews stepped up and hit a bloop single behind third base to score two runs and tie the game at 2-2.   

The game turned into a pitching duel between Luff and Ashley, and both teams put up zeros on the scoreboard before heading to extra innings. FMU had runners in scoring positions to win the game in the bottom of the seventh and eighth innings, but couldn't push the winning run across.

In the bottom of the ninth inning, Barzola drew a walk to kickoff the frame, and freshman catcher Danielle Myers singled to right center. They both advanced a base on a wild pitch, and Hanewinckel drove in the game-winning run on a single down the left field line.

Hanewinckel was 3-for-5 at the plate with an RBI. Mathews finished 2-for-3 with two RBIs, while Myers came off the bench in extra innings and had two base knocks.

Patriots' starter Katie Carnes pitched three and a third innings and recorded a strikeout. UNCP's Cloninger was 1-for-2 with a run scored, while Shelby Holland tallied a run and an RBI.